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to no avail

Also, of little or no avail . Of no use or advantage, ineffective, as in All his shouting was to no avail; no one could hear him , or The life jacket was of little or no avail . This idiom uses avail in the sense of “advantage” or “assistance,” a usage dating from the mid-1400s. Also see to little purpose
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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